Spring 2019

Listen and learn

Melissa Wray hams it up.
Photography by DAYNA BURTNESS

Listening is at the heart of MinneStory, a podcast that shares the stories of real people in Minnesota’s rural and urban communities. Its creator, Melissa Wray, ’18 M.P.S., came up with the idea around the time of the 2016 election.

“I kept hearing about the rural/urban divide,” she says. “But having grown up in a rural community, I felt the stories lacked nuance. So I decided to put my own spin on it.”

Wray began MinneStory as a project for her master’s in arts and cultural leadership and says receiving a Remington Scholarship enabled her to bring it to life. 

Each season features interviews with residents in one specific locale, starting with Houston County in southeastern Minnesota, where Wray grew up. Season two focused on Fergus Falls, and season three, which airs this spring, zeroes in on the Powderhorn Park neighborhood in Minneapolis.

The process has been revelatory for Wray, a Minneapolis resident, who realized that it’s time to return to her rural roots. She recently purchased two buildings in Caledonia and plans to create a nonprofit community space to explore local culture. And she’ll continue to produce MinneStory, steadfast in her belief that the best story is a personal one.